Who is Charlie Beck? *

beckfilegrab.jpgKPCC News, KNBC and ABC7 have joined the L.A. Times in reporting they confirmed that Mayor Villaraigosa will name deputy chief Charlie Beck to run the LAPD. Beck was rumored early on to be the choice of Bratton and Villaraigosa. So who is Beck?

He began with the LAPD in 1977. "Beck, laid-back and seemingly unflappable, has surged from the LAPD's middle ranks into the role of reformer under outgoing Chief William J. Bratton," an LAT analysis said over the weekend.

Beck's evolution as a cop under Bratton is particularly striking. The son of an LAPD deputy chief, he grew up immersed in the old-guard, paramilitary approach to policing.

Soon after Bratton took over the department in 2002, however, he selected Beck to be the captain in charge of the Rampart Division, which had badly tarnished the department with revelations of corruption and abuses.

Beck was hailed by a panel that examined Rampart for his ability to develop -- and get his officers to adopt -- a more inclusive, progressive approach that emphasized a partnership with the residents.

[* Added: The Police Protective League says, "We commend Mayor Villaraigosa for an excellent selection. Chief Beck is a consummate professional and his 32 years of experience with LAPD, both as an officer and a Deputy Chief, make him well suited for this important leadership position."]

[* Added: Police commissioner Rob Saltzman tells gay news blog LGBT POV: "Chief Beck has an excellent record on issues of particular concern to the LGBT community. He is sensitive to issues that directly affect LGBT people, and he understands our concerns. What’s more, Chief Beck is a problem-solver by approach. I am confident that we will work together closely to resolve any issues that arise.”]

Celeste Fremon at Witness LA, who also is reporting that Beck is the winner:

The quintessential cops-cop. His father was a deputy chief. His daughter is a police officer. His son is in the academy headed toward graduation. If you asked Central Casting for a guy who really looked like he ought to be Chief of Police, they’d send you Charlie Beck.

Right now, Chief Beck is the commanding officer of the department’s Detective bureau.

At 56, Beck is the oldest of the three finalists, but he competes in motocross events and is, in all seriousness, the current Police and Fire Motocross national champion.

Beck has worked assignments across the spectrum: gang units, undercover narcotics, Internal Affairs. His star began to rise most precipitously in 2006, when Bratton promoted him to Deputy Chief and gave him command of South Bureau where he gained a strong reputation for working successfully with the hard core gang intervention agencies that many previous commanders in the department had long shunned.

Photo: KABC-TV

When Bratton brought Beck to Parker Center to take over the Detective bureau, Beck became problem-solver-in-chief, taking on the faulty fingerprint analysis debacle that was a department embarrassment, and then the rape kit backlog mess after that. Of the three finalists, he has been the one openly talked about as Bratton’s choice to succeed him.

Charlie Beck is extremely personable, a straight shooter, and no-nonsense tough when need be. He knows how to stand his ground without blinking. And yet he never, ever reeks of ego.

The rank and file like and respect Beck a lot. But so does civil rights lawyer Connie Rice


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